Poor pay for writers undermines website’s legal credibility

Crashed police cars in ChicagoCAR CRASH: A website publishing articles about complex UK legal matters is risking credibility by paying writers too little. Picture: AsPerceived (c) 2014.

CREDIBILITY of online information sources is being further challenged by a London-based company trying to hire writers to produce legal guidance for less per article than lawyers can earn in a minute.

The firm posted an advert on the Gumtree site looking for five writers who would material covering topic such as wills, probate and the technicalities of dealing with all the administrative tasks facing loved ones after a death. For pieces produced every day, they were offering between £15 and £20 per article.

Professional journalists were quick to pour scorn on the initiative – warning that anyone who could afford to produce material for such poorly-paid rates would probably either have insufficient technical knowledge to produce accurate pieces or not enough time to research them adequately enough for them to be genuinely helpful to readers.

The listing also said: ‘We expect … the information … to be 100 per cent correct.’

Although the author of the listing added that ‘once hired (writers) may submit as many articles as you like and there is no limit per week’, no indication was given about how many would actually be used, nor was there any indication of whether payment would be made for each piece submitted or each published.

With rates so poor, the plea for accuracy may well be over-optimistic – and anyone seeking information about estates, probate and so on would probably be better advised to check other websites.

Indeed, the UK government offers official guidance that is easy to find – at www.gov.uk/wills-probate-inheritance/overview

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As Perceived Reporter
AsPerceived reporters produce original material or follow-up news stories as they develop.